RALPH  KENYON
EXTRAPOLATOR

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An amendment to establish the right of equal representation in congress.
drafted by Ralph E Kenyon Jr -  January 20, 2013

Preamble:
This amendment creates equality of representation in both the process of electing members of congress and in the process of representing the people; it does so by removing the unequal influence of money from both processes as well as removing conflicts of interest.  Once this becomes part of the Constitution, a congressperson will have one and only one job during his or her term - representing the people for the people - He or she will be paid ONLY by the country. He or she must give up any payment for services not in the conduct of his office.  No speaking fees, no book royalties, no gifts, no outside jobs, no constant pressure to get money for re-election, no constant pressure from lobbyists to do this or that, and no need to respond to anyone outside his or her district. This will free the incumbents to actually work on governing the country. Any personal wealth and income sources will need to be put in trust outside control of the congressperson.

 

Rational:

Whereas, in a democracy the first duty of an elected official is to his or her constituents - to represent their desires, modified and tempered by the congressperson's constitutionally-imposed limits, within the laws as they have been interpreted by the courts and amended by the legislature.

Whereas, the right to vote being inalienable, a person can not surrender or transfer his or her vote formally or informally to another person or to a corporate entity or another organization.

Whereas, these constituents must be represented equally - as one person one vote - each person may represent only his or her own vote, in either voting formally at the polls or informally in communication with congress.

Whereas, a corporation or other organization is a group of individuals, and these individuals are already represented directly by their own congresspersons, a further communication by a corporation or other organization to a congressperson is not consistent with one person one vote, as those members would be represented twice, once by their own inalienable right and second, by the corporation or other organization.

To the extent that communications from people to a congressperson constitutes an exchange of value, a vote expressing the desire of that individual, a request that the representative honor those desires, the expression of an interest, etc., it is inappropriate for these communications to come from any place other than the registered constituents, directly and personally. Votes not being transferable, corporations and other organizations have no vote.

Whereas, congresspersons represent only their own constituents, congresspersons shall be required to accept communication from individual members of their registered constituents, and prohibited from receiving unsolicited communications from any other sources. Now therefore, it follows that all lobbying should be illegal and prohibited, and corporations should communicate only with appropriate agencies in the administrative function in the executive branch of government. Moreover, representation does not include crossing representational boundaries. Candidates shall not seek support from persons not in the district they are seeking to represent. Nothing herein precludes a person, an owner of a corporation or a person responsible for another organization, from communicating his or her personal views about the business of the corporation or other organization to his or her own representative, but no one without such ownership or responsibility shall do so.

Inasmuch as the congresspersons should not accept communications from anyone other than their constituents, except as necessary in the conduct of their office and there must be equality in representation - the concept of "Campaign Contributions" is inconsistent with the one man one vote idea. Congresspersons and prospective congresspersons should accept no money or items of value from anyone, under penalty of imprisonment and/or fine. It follows that all campaign financing should come from the public till. Congress should pass appropriate laws to regulate the equitable use and limits on funds for such campaigning, in order to ensure that the people have a choice. Additionally, funding campaigns from other than the public till does not provide for equal opportunity to "ascend" to the public-servant level of congressperson.

Further, funding to support the responsibility of congresspersons to their constituents should be provided. congresspersons should be required to report periodically to all their registered constituents on matters of their office. These reports should be no less than semiannually.

It is time to discard our hesitant halfway steps and deal with the situation with the dignity and genius which our Founding Fathers displayed. I propose a constitutional amendment which gives congresspersons the responsibility and the means to report to the people they represent, which prohibits communication about lawmaking from any source other than the constituents, which prohibits the acceptance by any congressperson or prospective congressperson of any favor or gratuity, under penalty of law, and which provides for campaign funding from the public till, with congressional power to regulate the qualifications for, and use of, these funds.

This shall not be construed as an abridgment of the right of Free Speech, as the right of individuals to address their appropriate government representative is not restricted, and corporations and other organizations are already represented by the citizens who comprise them. Additionally, corporations and other organizations, as regulated by law, appropriately communicate with the administrative department of the government. Moreover, The principle of one person one vote is not consistent with treating money as speech, as the money available to individuals is not equal - nor is said speech paid for by money - consequently candidates for an office must be restricted to spend the same amount of money during election campaigns.  It is a natural consequence of this requirement that candidates cannot spend their own money on election campaigns.

The proposed text of the amendment.

Funding elections:
Congress shall establish and regulate funds for the purpose of communicating by and about prospective candidates for election and re-election to congress, establish criteria for eligibility to receive such funds, and regulate their equitable disbursement and use. Congresspersons and prospective congresspersons shall not expend any of their own funds for the purpose of getting elected or re-elected. This provision shall not be construed as a restriction on the right of freedom of speech.

No Gifts, Contributions, or outside pay:
Congresspersons shall not accept gifts, contributions, or other remunerations (government salary and expenses excluded) from any individual, corporation, or organization during their term of office, nor for the purpose of getting elected to office.

No lobbying:
The right of free speech with respect to all matters of electing a congressperson and advising a congressperson shall be limited to individual persons who are prospective or actual registered constituents for that congressional district or state. Congresspersons shall not solicit non-constituents, and citizens shall not solicit, support, or advocate for congresspersons who would not directly represent them. No corporation or other organization may advocate for or against, or communicate privately or via public mass media with, congresspersons or candidates on the matter of elections, and no corporation or other organization may initiate or solicit congress for the purpose of influencing the conduct of the office or the legislative process, save as responding to requests for information from congresspersons. Such solicited reports and responses shall be made public only by the congressional office who solicited them - not by the organization solicited.  This provision shall not be construed as an abridgment of the freedom of speech, nor shall it be construed as an abridgment of the ability to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Presidency:
This amendment shall also apply in full to the office of the President and vice President.

Implementation:
Congress shall establish laws to implement the provisions of this amendment within two election cycles after ratification for each office. There shall be no time limit on ratification by the states.  

Even though it will be "moon-shot" hard, please sign and support this amendment.